| by N.S.Venkataraman
(August 17, 2014, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, made a spectacular speech on India’s Independence Day at Red Fort in New Delhi. This should be rated as one of the best speeches that has been delivered by any Prime Minister after India’s independence. More than anything else, the speech clearly revealed Mr. Modi’s grasp of the fundamentals and understanding of the expectations of the common man . He certainly caught the mood of the country and has not said anything that is inappropriate.
But, what is conspicuous is that Mr. Modi , for whatever reasons ,did not touch two subjects namely alarming increase in national population and also the widespread and unchecked corruption at all levels in the country not only in the government machinery but also in several other areas such as educational institutions, business houses and even judiciary and religious institutions. Certainly, Mr. Modi cannot be unaware of these facts and ground realities but obviously he has chosen to ignore them . Is it possible that Mr. Modi has thought these subjects to be inconvenient ?.
By his ignoring these two vital and grave issues, one may think that the politician in Mr. Modi has gained upper hand over the statesmanship in Mr. Modi.
A discerning observer would get an impression after listening to Mr. Modi ‘s Red Fort speech, that Mr. Modi thinks that he should not bite more than what he can chew and therefore, thought it fit to ignore the issues of corruption and population growth.
The fact is that if Mr. Modi were to deliver his promise of promoting a vibrant Indian economy with clean conditions everywhere, he has to necessarily tackle these two issues with highest priority and dedication and should be seen to be doing so.
The basic problem today in India is that the number of mouths to be fed keep on increasing , which is neutralising the growth in production of agriculture and industrial products. The country’s population growth has to be brought down in a very significant manner in the next five years and it cannot be done by ignoring this problem.
Like population growth , the growth in the all round corruption in the country is now at alarming level. This has resulted in huge circulation of black money, creating virtually a parallel economy. Without curbing this black money and putting down corruption, it is not possible to bring down the prices and control the direction of the economy. All plans of Mr.Modi to promote growth would be nullified by the corrupt conditions, if left unchecked.
Because of the high level of corruption amongst the politicians, bureaucrats and business men (which include those investing in educational institutions, health sector etc.), the disparity in income between the various sections of the country men are steadily widening . Today, while around 30 % of the national population is reported to belong to lower income group (more than three hundred million country men) who do not know where the next meal would come from, there are visible population living in highly affluent conditions, making the poor people wonder as to how these people make money and become so rich and whether it would be possible for them to do so without evading taxes and remaining dishonest and corrupt.
Mr. Narendra Modi spoke for a period of one hour at Red Fort and certainly the country men would have continued to listen to him with interest , if he had taken a little more time to express his concern about growing population and the rising corruption. He has chosen not to do so.
Today, country men are willing to give Mr. Modi time to set things right but certainly they would like to be assured that his priorities include that of tackling corruption and population issues, apart from others. Since Mr. Modi did not dwell on these two vital subjects, the spectacular speech of Mr. Modi may also be described as Mr. Modi’s eloquent silence .